fast food, image from morguefile

Central’s Week in Brief: October 21, 2011

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

 

1)      Have you ever taken a trip to McDonald’s and felt like the only thing missing was a TV?  If so, then your fast food experience will soon be complete with the premiere of an in-store McDonald’s television channel.  The channel’s programming will be community specific and include everything from local news to movie previews and about eight minutes per hour of advertising as well.   According to the L.A. Times, “The venture, which has already been tested in L.A., San Diego and Las Vegas, is expected to reach 18 million to 20 million people a month, which ChannelPort executives said would be one of the largest daytime audiences in the region.”

 

2)      In what may seem like a setback for First Lady Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move campaign, the U.S. Senate has voted against an effort to limit potatoes in school lunches.   This limitation of potatoes and other starchy vegetables to a maximum of two servings per week was part of an effort to combat childhood obesity and promote serving healthier vegetables.   Time Healthland says the ban “…angered the potato industry, some school districts and members of Congress from potato-growing states, who say USDA should focus on the preparation instead and that potatoes can be a good source of fiber and potassium.”  In the end, it was judged as more important to find a balance in what is served and how it is prepared rather than putting a limit on servings.

 

3)      In the nation’s current economy, Detroit has suffered more than most.  One big example of this hardship is the budget cuts for 43 of the city’s soup kitchens and food banks.  While many might feel that they could do nothing, 65 popular restaurants and caterers have decided to step up to help those in their community by participating in the “Feed the Need” program.  By taking part in the program, restaurants will prepare and cater lunch once a week for those in need at Detroit’s Cass Community Center. The Detroit News says, “More than 12,000 meals are expected to be served annually.”  The program, originally started in South Carolina by Detroit native Mickey Bakst, is expected to expand to six other cities in the near future.

 

4)      Starbucks announced that it will be introducing a light roast (aka less strong) version of their coffee called the “Blonde” roast.   While Starbucks is traditionally known for their dark roasts, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, they are aiming “to attract the estimated 40 percent of American coffee drinkers who say they prefer a lighter roast flavor.”  This change is also an effort to compete with lighter coffee roasts from outlets like McDonald’s which has become a bigger player in the coffee market in the past few years with the introduction of their McCafe line.

 

 

5)      Halloween season is upon us and while this holiday is traditionally associated with candy there’s nothing wrong with switching it up a little.  If you’re throwing a special party at your school or restaurant or just looking to serve up a creative new dessert check out these Chocolate Spider Web Cake in a Jars from the I Am Baker blog.   Not only are they festive and a little creepy, but they’re also a great, simple way to personalize a treat for each guest.

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